by Mark Bessenger [Director]
Saturday morning was here and the first appointment was 10:00am. I arrived at the studio and set up some soft flood lights, two chairs for the actors to sit in, a table for me to sit behind and the HD camera on a tripod. The manager of the studio had graciously offered to run the camera for me and tape the auditions.
We had just barely finished when the 2nd appointment arrived first--and 20 minutes early! We hurriedly scrambled to find our positions and achieve a calm, professional demeanor when Trevor showed him in. A nice looking chap sat down and read the scene with David. To my mild shock and amusement, he had a very pronounced European accent. Definitely not what you'd expect from a trucker. I thanked him, and he left, and I wondered if we'd run into anyone else like that later on.
The next guy arrived and did an okay job, but he was too tall. Another just didn't look right paired with David. Then the next appointed auditioner was a no-show. So was the next one. And the next one. One guy came in to audition for the role of the truck driver and read the part like an edgy serial killer. I tried to get him to change his reading, but he just couldn't seem to slip out of "I want to strangle you" mode. Then the next guy was too thin. The next one too muscular. Most of them were adequate. Some were actually good. But very few were what I wanted. Then, after lunch, we had about five no-shows in a row, which was very frustrating. Did the nudity scare them off? Was it the sex scenes?
One guy came in and did a very good reading for the truck driver. His look wasn't perfect, kind of softer than I wanted, but he was tall, good-looking with a nice build and read the part exactly the way I had envisioned it. His name was Olev. Toward the end of the day, I was getting depressed. The guys auditioning for the gay boyfriend weren't right. Either they had the look but not the ability or were capable but too tall or too buffed. One guy's head was too big! Finally, at the end of the day, was Windham Beacham, the SAG actor who had starred in the indie films LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP, BACK SOON and MAKE THE YULETIDE GAY. He came in and I sat up in my chair. Right height, good-looking, but could he act?
"Hey! You're wearing a FROGS t-shirt!" he said to me, pointing at my choice of dress that day. "I just watched that the other night again and even gave a copy to my friend! Fun flick!" Windham sat down and pulled out his scene. He read the lines sitting next to David, and he was good. Very good. It was obvious that he GOT it. I gave him a bit of direction and watched him run through it again. This time, I noticed that David wasn't just acting next to him, but he was reacting to him. It was just a rehearsal, and Windham was pulling a performance out of David! No one else had done this all day. I had them stand next to each other. They looked good together. I'd buy that they were a couple.
I asked Windham if he'd mind waiting in the green room for a few minutes. After he left, I discussed with David and the cameraman what they thought. They both liked him. So did I. I thought he took direction well and was talented. I went into the green room and gave him the script, then asked him to quickly go over a few new scenes. Several minutes later, he came back in and read with David. Again, he was good. Another trip to the green room and back to read a few more scenes and I was convinced that not only was he good for the part, he was the right choice.
He said he was completely available for the month of June, that he thought the scenes he'd read were hilarious and he was really excited about the possibility of doing the project. After conferring with David one more time, we all agreed, then had Windham come back onto the set. I told him that I had seen a lot of "Carys" that day, but he blew the others away and I offered him the part. He blinked, surprised that it happened that fast, and then gushed his enthusiasm. He had no problem with his brief nude shot, as I knew he wouldn't, having done nude scenes in his other films. He did warn me that he had a large tattoo on his right butt cheek which had been covered up with latex on his other films. I asked him to show me, on the outside of his jeans, where it was and approximately how large the tat was. With a "Phhfft!", he stood up, turned around, and dropped trou, showing me the tattoo on his bare butt cheek. No, he'd have no problems with the nudity at all.
Again, I voiced my concerns about the SAG thing, but he told me it hadn't been a major problem with his other non-union shoots, it just involved some paperwork. I thought he'd be worth it. And he told me the producer of his other films would be happy to walk me through the process.
We all congratulated him and he left a very happy actor. I felt pretty good, although I was still disappointed in the no-shows. This is professionalism?
So now I had two of my three leads. But I needed two women, also required to do nudity, and a slew of supporting characters. I also had received an email from my cousin who said that I needed to ask her father-in-law officially for permission to use the junkyard. I thought his son was speaking for him, but no. I needed to talk to him about the movie, about using his property and that the movie had swearing, gay sex and topless women. To a Baptist minister. This was going to be a nail-biter. If we couldn't use the junkyard, we'd have to pay for a location. If we had to pay for a location for 3 weeks, our budget would soar and the film would be completely unprofitable. We were making headway but this new problem wasn't just a snag...it was a potential deal-buster.